Archive for the ‘Beyond Our Walls’ Category

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. American Wing expansion under construction. Fall, 2008.

Museums constantly have to address the lack of space they have to display artwork in their ever-expanding collections. When faced with this issue, enlarging a museum’s gallery space appears to be the logical solution and, now, the norm. In some circumstances, it allows a museum to prosper and shine. However, the expansion is a risk and if it is unsuccessful it could destroy the integrity of the museum. In the past five years, many major museums have undertaken expansions on a variety of levels. Some have made the news, for both good and bad reasons. All the critics ask, “do the pros outweigh the cons? What is the cost to the museum, beyond financially? Is the original mission damaged? The collection? How does this change the course of the museum’s future?”

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The “@” Symbol, recently added to the collection of the MoMA

Webster’s dictionary defines art as, “the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects.” According to this definition, it is almost easier to define the action of doing art, rather than what it actually is.
Does art need to have a concept or a story, or could it just simply follow the autonomy of art for art’s sake? If an object is seen as aesthetically pleasing shouldn’t it be considered art?  Regardless of an object’s use in daily life, if it is pleasing to look at, should it be displayed? (more…)

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A Sotheby’s auctioneer looks for bids. Photo by Sotheby’s.

Tough economic times have caused one of the art world’s most controversial questions to once again resurface: should museums sell works in their collection? The Rose Art Museum, which houses over 8,000 objects, brought international attention to this debate when Brandeis announced it was closing the Museum and selling the works of art in order to help the University recover from the economic decline. Due to its involvement with Bernard Madoff, Brandeis was particularly hard-hit. After months of public outcry and three series of lawsuits, the University was forced to keep the Museum open. This debacle is credited for Jehuda Reinharz’s (Brandeis University President) decision to step down.

Recently, a vast majority of art museums across the nation have been compelled to freeze salaries, shorten exhibition schedules, decrease museum programming and even cut staff. In some instances, these cut backs may have even inhibited a museum’s ability to enhance their collection by preventing the purchasing of new works. Are museums faced with the choice to make cut backs or sell a few pieces of art to help improve the museums’ situation? Yes or no, this issue has created quite uproar. (more…)

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Snow in New York, 1902. Robert Henri, (1865-1929). Oil on canvas, 32 x 25 13/16 in. (81.3 x 65.5 cm). National Gallery of Art, from the Chester Dale Collection, 1954.4.3.

“The Eight” was a group of American artists devoted to depicting urban realism in each of their own unique styles.  They were considered to be rebellious pioneers of modern American art.  The Eight exhibited only once together in 1908 where they took it upon themselves to organize the exhibition rather than to go through the National Academy.

Robert Henri (1865-1929) was the leader of the group.  He met and befriended the “Philadelphia Four,” a group of newspaper illustrators (William Glakens, George Luks, Everett Shinn, and John Sloan) and encouraged them to become painters.  The five of them eventually moved to New York City and also came to be associated with the Ashcan School.  (more…)

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